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Four Christmas Traditions Your Kids Will Love

One reason Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year is because of the many family Christmas traditions associated with the holiday. The list is long and varied.

Traditions are bonding experiences. And Christmas traditions are like super glue for a family. A dad of 7 shares 4 unusual ideas for a new family tradition


The simple task of selecting and decorating a tree for your home can be a fairly involved Christmas tradition. Watching classic Christmas movies and TV specials made for many enjoyable evenings when our kids were younger. The time-honored practice of giving gifts isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Then there are Christmas Eve candlelight services, baking, caroling, and cooking and eating delicious meals with the family. And don’t forget a run to the mall the day after Christmas to exchange gifts that don’t fit, return any duplicates, and redeem gift cards. During this season, our family also likes to play games, especially ones that are fast-paced and loud.

Chances are that you and your family already participate in some of these familiar rituals and Christmas traditions. But maybe you’re game to try a new activity with your family this Christmas. You never know. It just might turn into the most treasured of Christmas traditions that adds a new dimension to the holidays and makes this time of year one that everyone looks forward to.


Four Christmas Traditions Your Kids Will Love (Because Now One Else is Doing One of Them)


I’d like to share four Christmas traditions from our family. One we’ve been doing for nearly a decade. It isn’t all that novel, but it has turned out to be great fun for our entire crew. Another is a little more original. Amazingly, it’s in its tenth year and has spilled over to involve a number of friends. The third is fairly new. I’m not going to force it to become a long-standing practice, but so far it is certainly a bonding experience. And the fourth is brand new for this year.

Gingerbread House Contest


The first of the three traditions I want to share is a contest to make ginger bread houses. We buy two kits that you can find at any hobby or craft store. We divide into two teams—usually guys against the girls. We lay out all the supplies: candies, icing, sprinkles, candy canes, and gummy bears. We then set a timer and let the construction begin. There’s usually lots of hooting and hollering as we banter back and forth. At some point both teams get a little more serious as we try to make these crazy constructs hold together. When finished, we have fun “judging” the best and worst in all kinds of made-up categories. We conclude by taking photos of the teams and their creations.

One year ended in fireworks while we were taking pictures. As we were admiring the girls’ cute little gingerbread house, we realized that one of the walls was slipping. I quickly turned on my phone’s video recorder and caught the implosion and laughter to follow. We usually start each contest with friendly reminders of the former incident.

Lord of the Rings Movie Marathon

Roughly ten years ago, we had our first Lord of the Rings movie marathon. My older boys were in their upper teens and decided it would be fun to pick a day close to New Year’s Day to watch all three of the award-winning Lord of the Rings movies in a row. They got up early (as in 5:00 a.m.) and started the first DVD. They took a thirty- to sixty-minute break between films and, sure enough, finished the last show by seven o’clock that evening.

They thought it was so cool that they invited friends to join them in year two. This time they watched the extended versions of each film. By year three, word had gotten around. Now we have twenty to thirty teens in our basement each year to partake in this Carman family tradition. People start asking about it in October and November so that they can put it on their calendars. We’ve even had friends show up from out of town.

Rachael serves pancakes during the first intermission and pizza during the second break. I try to watch one of the movies in its entirety and pop my head in at other times to make sure everyone is doing fine.

What’s neat is that a few years ago my two younger sons were allowed to participate. I made them read the books before we watched the movies. I smile when I remember the excitement they expressed before their initial viewing of each movie and the first year they got to join everyone for the movie marathon. They could hardly wait.

24-Hour Comic Book Production

Let me start with a little bit of history. My oldest son is a writer and philosopher. My second son is an artist. Five or more years ago they used a big chunk of their summer break to collaborate on a project to write and illustrate a full-length comic book for submission to a publisher. I helped them interpret the documented guidelines, and they worked long and hard to complete their self-initiated venture. Quite frankly, I was impressed with the storyline, the images, and the embedded philosophy. I was also blown away by the sheer determination, discipline, and perseverance these two young men showed through it all. And they learned much about the book development process.

Apparently my kids value a good tradition. Only a few years ago, my two oldest sons were trying something brand new, just the two of them. The plan my sons concocted was to produce a comic book in just twenty-four hours. Here’s their schedule. They started at 10:00 a.m. on January 1. They wrote and illustrated for twenty-four consecutive hours, with the goal of finishing by 10:00 the next morning, which also happened to be the day of that year’s Lord of the Rings movie marathon. So they watched the first movie in the background as they finished up their comic book work. They slept during the second movie and woke up in time to catch the final film of the trilogy. What an adventure! Our family is still talking about this one and probably will be for years to come.

Trip to the Mountains for a Christmas Tree

Traditions are bonding experiences. And Christmas traditions are like super glue for a family. A dad of 7 shares 4 unusual ideas for a new family tradition

Five of our seven children have left the nest. Two are married, and three are in college. That leaves two teenage sons at home. So our family dynamics are quite different than previous years when we had a house full of young and old children. This year, our sons asked if we could drive to the mountains of North Carolina to find and cut a Christmas tree. Rachael and I jumped at the idea. It sounded like something memorable that could make for a good and new tradition with our youngest sons. So a few weeks ago, we drove from Charlotte to a tree farm in the mountains. We spent the night at a local lodge, ate a good breakfast, then headed out in search of the perfect snow-covered tree. After securing a nice blue spruce to the top of our vehicle, we took a break for some hot cocoa and a hay ride. The time went by fast, but I sensed that the memories will last a long time. The boys loved it and talked about the adventure the whole way home.

Traditions are bonding experiences. And Christmas traditions are like super glue for a family. What is the most bonding Christmas traditions that your family practices?

Walking by faith and enjoying the homeschooling adventure of a lifetime!

Davis Carman

© 2017 Davis Carman

If you enjoyed this devotional by Davis Carman, enjoy reading his devotionals entitled Four Types of Faith and Rebuiliding…Where Do I Start?

 Davis is the president of Apologia Educational Ministries, the #1 publisher of Creation-based science and Bible curriculum. He is also the author of four illustrated children’s books designed to help kids learn a biblical worldview. He believes that if there was ever a time to homeschool, it is now! 

Davis’s four books include: Good Morning, Godbased on Deuteronomy 6, A Light for My Pathan ABC book based on Psalm 119, In the Beginning, based on the Creation account in Genesis, and Psalms to Know Early.

© 2017 Davis Carman







Traditions are bonding experiences. And Christmas traditions are like super glue for a family. A dad of 7 shares 4 unusual ideas for a new family tradition

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One Comment

  1. I love these ideas and traditions. My husband and I wanted to find something our children would remember forever. Now, we and our 5 children sleep out in the barn each year for christmas. (Baby Jesus had rather humble beginnings also) We have a stove out there and my husband brings a medium decorated christmas tree out and the presents. He sets everything up for the big reveal complete with quilts laid out on the hay. We all spend the evening reading the christmas story, drinking hot coco warmed on the stove, then open our presents before cuddling up in our ‘beds’. Our children are more excited about this tradition than their presents!

    Whatever your traditions, they are so important for creating memories and strengthening family bonds.